Amanchu! – Season 1

Amanchu! – Season 1

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It is spring, the season of great changes. Hikari Kohinata is an overwhelmingly cheerful and outgoing 15-year-old girl who has spent all her life in a small and beautiful seaside town on the Izu peninsula. On the first day of high school, she meets Futaba Oki, a slightly introverted girl who has just moved from Tokyo. Before she knows it, Futaba gets dragged along into Hikari’s passion for scuba diving. And from there, Futaba gradually starts to come out of her shell, and learns how to take challenges and dive into the ocean of life.

So – an anime focusing on friendship and diving. Amanchu! is one of those anime that picks a particular hobby or common ground between a small group of people (usually high school girls) and uses it as a vehicle for a slice of life with an interesting twist. Will this be able to maintain my attention?

img_4886.jpgBefore I even realised what this one was all about, I was already on board. And this is all thanks to one character: Kohinata Hikari. As soon as I saw her, I instantly warmed to her personality. She’s a super genki, quirky and energetic girl who loves being outside and close to the water. Normally when an anime has a character like this it’s almost as if they’re made to be that way for a reason – to be the ‘genki girl’ archetype to deliver a shot of brightness to a particular storyline. In Amanchu!, however, Hikari’s personality doesn’t seem forced at all – she’s perfectly comfortable and natural to express herself in this way. She’s great to watch on-screen, taking delight in the most simplest of things. And that face she pulls when she’s super happy… Wow.

img_4889.jpgIn comparison, we also have the rather introverted Futaba (aka Teko) who is a long way away from her native Tokyo and now going to school on the Izu peninsula. Whilst scouting the area, she sees Hikari and is both taken-aback and instantly drawn to Hikari’s outgoing behaviour and natural warmth, finding her place in her new surroundings by making new friends and discovering new passions.

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The way the characters are drawn in this anime is beautiful. People are drawn with longer legs, rounder eyes and willowy bodies that gives them a slight tinge of realism whilst maintaining that classic shoujo style that it has, wistful and romantic. The wetsuits the characters wear are drawn with fine detail, and the scenes with water can be simply breathtaking. Even just seeing the girls in their school uniform is different to the usual fare – long dresses in rather old-fashioned cuts that only accentuate the way the characters are drawn.

img_4882.jpgThe music in this anime really stood out to me. It’s very light and simplistic, but you can tell it was all crafted to be just don’t. There are some scenes with some acoustic guitar riffs, xylophones and harps. Every time that I go to listen, I hear another instrument added to the mix.

67d96f57-9525-45ba-8574-ebb90bc9abd9.jpgAmanchu! is looking to be a feel-good, laid-back watch where you can enjoy some great characters, marvel at some stunningly-drawn ocean vistas and learn more about the science behind diving, how people do it and how they stay safe. Saying that does sound weird, but for some reason, this combination works. It has a very similar feel to that of Flying Witch from last season; namely that it strolls along in a leisurely fashion, chilled out with a bit of fun thrown in to keep you watching. The characters are adorable, and you love to watch them.

img_4879.jpgI’m looking for more of the same from Amanchu! as the series progresses. Futaba is learning more about herself and leaving her shyness back on dry land, whilst we see a more serious side if Hikari that deepens her character. I don’t think this one needs any drama or plot twists particularly, it just needs to keep delivering beautiful scenery and characters that I love to watch.